15 JULY – 20 AUGUST 2022

KÖNIG SEOUL is pleased to present HEAVY EYES, the first solo exhibition of
Michael Sailstorfer in Seoul. Three distinct work groups – lead paintings,
lamps cast in bronze, and other objects, also cast in bronze – revolve
around a core tension between heaviness and lightness.

The exhibition’s title HEAVY EYES conveys both heaviness and beauty,
though within this framing Sailstorfer still manages to create something
light and spirited. He achieves this by playing with materials and their
potential meanings, like in the “Heavy Eyes” series in which the artist
covered stretched canvases with an incredibly thin (1mm) layer of an
otherwise hefty substance: lead. To add to this impossible levity of
materials, Sailstorfer then decorated the lead surface with shimmering,
metallic eye shadow.

The addition of eyeshadow both hides the dark areas and represents
potential glamour and joie de vivre. To further emphasize this idea,
Sailstorfer incorporates a famous pop icon into his work: Marilyn Monroe.
He reworks a well-known black-and-white portrait of the star with the
addition of coloured eye shadow. Outwardly she is radiant, but the whole
world knows that things looked different behind the scenes.
These make-up works also tie in with Sailstorfer’s earlier mask sculptures:
pieces of cardboard, some of which quote architecture, bunkers, and
machine parts, which are then cast in aluminium bronze. The artist likes to
connect his works with questions like, "How do you see yourself, what is
behind? What do you hide, what do you reveal?"

Sailstorfer reworked twelve lead paintings for his solo show in Seoul, with
the addition of make-up, which pushed these lead works in a new direction
in which the chemical reaction between eye shadow and lead gives the
work a life of its own. "Heavy Eyes" follows from an earlier series called
"Heavy Tears", in which the addition of lipstick drops was added to the
lead surfaces to symbolise tears.

To round out the thematic framing of heaviness/lightness, HEAVY EYES
also contains seven cast light bulbs (BATTERIE), first moulded in wax –
allowing a beehive to then revise the original cast at random – and then
finally immortalized in bronze, which hang stoically from the ceiling. These
"illuminate" the lead images and help the eyes to see. A bag and a pair of
sunglasses from the fashion label Off White – both made of bronze – are
placed on the terrace in Seoul. Here, Sailstorfer's “levity” again comes to
the fore, and on a meta-level, the two designer objects can be understood
as representations of the burdens of everyday life that one carries, and for
the "mask" behind which one wants to hide one's eyes....

© Images Cheonho Ahn